Is harassment from collection agencies legal?

For people who are struggling with unpaid bills, credit card debt and the possibility of foreclosure, it may seem like there is no end to the stress and tension that often comes with these financial issues. The strain of mounting debt can seem to take over every area of a person’s life. It is important for people in this situation to understand that they have options and rights that can help alleviate the anxiety and money concerns.

For the more than 30 million Americans who are currently in debt, one of the most upsetting aspects of debt is the seemingly constant harassment from collection agencies. These companies are tasked with using a variety of ruthless and intimidating practices to get consumers to make a payment, of which they typically give collectors a portion. This, however, does not mean that debt collection agencies can do whatever they want. There are certain boundaries and restrictions that these companies much comply with or face penalties.

For example, a debt collector is allowed to call a person’s place of employment, but they must stop if they are informed that the employer does not allow an employee to take this type of call. This condition, which is part of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, is in place to protect people from the possibility of losing a job.

The act also protects people from suffering marital strain and privacy violations as a result of the debt collection process. Collection agencies are allowed to call a person between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., but outside of those hours, they cannot make calls seeking payment. It is also true that agencies may contact family members in an attempt to contact a person, but they may not divulge the information that someone owes money. They also may not contact any family member more than once.

Calls from collection agencies can be overwhelming to deal with. However, it can be important to understand that there are some protections in place that collection agencies must comply with. A person can also put a stop to creditor harassment by seeking debt relief in the form of bankruptcy protection. Immediately after filing for bankruptcy, collection agencies must stop contacting you and it will also halt any foreclosures, repossessions and garnishments.

Source: abc15.com, “Is it legal for a debt collector to call you at work?” Rachael Mason, Jan. 4, 2013

  • Our New Jersey bankruptcy law firm works with people who are looking for a variety of debt relief solutions for unmanageable debt. For more information, please visit our website.

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Attorney Joel R. Spivack is an experienced bankruptcy and residential real estate transactions lawyer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Clients come to us for legal services, but what we really provide is peace of mind. For more than 30 years, Attorney Spivack has helped people make wise, informed decisions about bankruptcy filings, debt relief options and residential real estate transactions.
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